‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’ – Neale Donald Walsch
Today has been our final full day in Srinagar with a day of travelling tomorrow, starting with an 8 hour jeep ride to Jammu, then jumping straight onto a 6 hour train journey getting us to Amritsar around 2am.
I have to say that I, (Toby), disagree with the quote which opens the post. Whilst aspects of the trek last week and our unexpected very early arrival into Srinagar put us outside our comfort zone, the past two days have been firmly within it and have definitely been comfortable.
The day started early yesterday with a pre-dawn boat (called Shikaras – similar styled boat to the gondolas in Venice) to the floating market. Whilst the market began as feeling slightly like a spectacle for the tourists, once it got going there was some bartering between locals and exchanges of produce.
After a leisurely morning breakfast we went on another Shikara for a couple of hours to see the sights on the lake. Whilst the places advertised by all tour operators (floating garden, golden lake) were nothing special the more interesting part of the ride was through the small canals around the backwaters where people still live and farm on the lake.
Yesterday afternoon was spent sitting on the decking on the waters edge reading and hammering the shells off of whole nuts we had been given as a gift. Today we had a lazy morning before returning to the shore and discovering the parks in the richer section of the city. I’m currently drafting this post sat in a leafy park whilst our most expensive meal so far digests. A whole £3! Although it did contain 5 different meat dishes and a mountain of rice. Was the first proper meaty dish I’ve had so far in India with so much of the food vegetarian and care needing to be taken when ordering meat. The place we went today seemed fairly up market and were both feeling good so far – hope it stays that way or else tomorrow’s 14 hours of travelling may not be much fun…